Brooks Adams

From the “Preface to New Edition” (1919)
to The Emancipation of Massachussetts: The Dream and the Reality (1886)


… I have now nothing to alter in the Emancipation of Massachusetts, viewed as history, though I might soften its asperities somewhat, here and there; but when I come to consider it as philosophy, I am startled to observe the gap which separates the present epoch from my early middle life.

The last generation was strongly Darwinian in the sense that it accepted, almost as a tenet of religious faith, the theory that human civilization is a progressive evolution, moving on the whole steadily toward perfection, from a lower to a higher intellectual plane, and, as a necessary part of its progress, developing a higher degree of mental vigor. I need hardly observe that all belief in democracy as a final solution of social ills, all confidence in education as a means to attaining to universal justice, and all hope of approximating to the rule of moral right in the administration of law, was held to hinge on this great fundamental dogma, which, it followed, it was almost impious to deny, or even to doubt. Thus, on the first page of my book, I observe, as if it were axiomatic, that, at a given moment, toward the opening of the sixteenth century, “Europe burst from her mediaeval torpor into the splendor of the Renaissance,” and further on I assume, as an equally self-evident axiom, that freedom of thought was the one great permanent advance which western civilization made by all the agony and bloodshed of the Reformation. Apart altogether from the fact that I should doubt whether, in the year 1919, any intelligent and educated man would be inclined to maintain that the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were, as contrasted with the nineteenth, ages of intellectual torpor, what startles me in these paragraphs is the self-satisfied assumption of the finality of my conclusions. I posit, as a fact not to be controverted, that our universe is an expression of an universal law, which the nineteenth century had discovered and could formulate.

During the past thirty years I have given this subject my best attention, and now I am so far from assenting to this proposition that my mind tends in the opposite direction. Each day I live I am less able to withstand the suspicion that the universe, far from being an expression of law originating in a single primary cause, is a chaos which admits of reaching no equilibrium, and with which man is doomed eternally and hopelessly to contend. For human society, to deserve the name of civilization, must be an embodiment of order, or must at least tend toward a social equilibrium. I take, as an illustration of my meaning, the development of the domestic relations of our race.

I assume it to be generally admitted, that possibly man’s first and probably his greatest advance toward order — and, therefore, toward civilization — was the creation of the family as the social nucleus. As Napoleon said, when the lawyers were drafting his Civil Code, “Make the family responsible to its head, and the head to me, and I will keep order in France.” And yet although our dependence on the family system has been recognized in every age and in every land, there has been no restraint on personal liberty which has been more resented, by both men and women alike, than has been this bond which, when perfect, constrains one man and one woman to live a joint life until death shall them part, for the propagation, care, and defence of their children.

The result is that no civilization has, as yet, ever succeeded, and none promises in the immediate future to succeed, in enforcing this primary obligation, and we are thus led to consider the cause, inherent in our complex nature, which makes it impossible for us to establish an equilibrium between mind and matter. A difficulty which never has been even partially overcome, which wrecked the Roman Empire and the Christian Church, which has wrecked all systems of law, and which has never been more lucidly defined than by Saint Paul, in the Epistle to the Romans, “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do, I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. … Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.… For the good that I would, I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.... For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: … But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?”

And so it has been since a time transcending the limits of imagination. Here in a half-a-dozen sentences Saint Paul exposes the ceaseless conflict between mind and matter, whose union, though seemingly the essence of life, creates a condition which we cannot comprehend and to which we could not hope to conform, even if we could comprehend it. In short, which indicates chaos as being the probable core of an universe from which we must evolve order, if ever we are to cope with violence, fraud, crime, war, and general brutality. Wheresoever we turn the prospect is the same. If we gaze upon the heavens we discern immeasurable spaces sprinkled with globules of matter, to which our earth seems to be more or less akin, but all plunging, apparently, both furiously and aimlessly, from out of an infinite past to an equally immeasurable future.

Whence this material mass comes, or what its wild flight portends, we neither know nor could we, probably, comprehend even were its secret divulged to us by a superior intelligence, always conceding that there be such an intelligence, or any secret to disclose. These latter speculations lie, however, beyond the scope of my present purpose. It suffices if science permits me to postulate (a concession by science which I much doubt if it could make) that matter, as we know it, has the semblance of being what we call a substance, charged with a something which we define as energy, but which at all events simulates a vital principle resembling heat, seeking to escape into space, where it cools. …

[Here commences about 100 pages retelling the story of Moses in very uncomplimentary language.]

From the end of CHAPTER II.

When Saint Louis bought the Crown of Thorns from Baldwin in 1239, the commercial value of relics may, possibly, be said to have touched its highest point, but, in fact, the adoration of them had culminated with the collapse of the Second Crusade, and in another century and a half the market had decisively broken and the Reformation had already begun, with the advent of Wycliffe and the outbreak of Wat Tyler’s Rebellion in 1381. For these social movements have always a common cause and reach a predetermined result.

In the eleventh century the convent of Cluny, for example, had an enormous and a perfectly justified hold upon the popular imagination, because of the sanctity and unselfishness of its abbots. Saint Hugh won his sainthood by a self-denial and effort which were impossible to ordinary men, but with Louis IX the penitential life had already lost its attractions and men like Arnold rapidly brought religion and religious thought into contempt. The famous Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, born, probably, in 1175, died in 1253. He presided over the diocese of Lincoln at the precise moment when Saint Louis was building the Sainte Chapelle, but Grosseteste in 1250 denounced in a sermon at Lyons the scandals of the papal court with a ferocity which hardly was surpassed at any later day.

To attempt even an abstract of the thought of the English Reformation would lead too far, however fascinating the subject might be. It must suffice to say briefly that theology had little or nothing to do with it. Wycliffe denounced the friars as lazy, profligate impostors, who wrung money from the poor which they afterwards squandered in ways offensive to God, and he would have stultified himself had he admitted, in the same breath, that these reprobates, when united, formed a divinely illuminated corporation, each member of which could and did work innumerable miracles through the interposition of Christ. Ordinary miracles, indeed, could be tested by the senses, but the essence of transubstantiation was that it eluded the senses. Thus nothing could be more convenient to the government than to make this invisible and intangible necromancy a test in capital cases for heresy-Hence Wycliffe had no alternative but to deny transubstantiation, for nothing could be more insulting to the intelligence than to adore a morsel of bread which a priest held in his hand. The pretension of the priests to make the flesh of Christ was, according to Wycliffe, an impudent fraud, and their pretension to possess this power was only an excuse by which they enforced their claim to collect fees, and what amounted to extortionate taxes, from the people.1 But, in the main, no dogma, however incomprehensible, ever troubled Protestants, as a class. They easily accepted the Trinity, the double procession, or the Holy Ghost itself, though no one had the slightest notion what the Holy Ghost might be. Wycliffe roundly declared in the first paragraph of his confessionl that the body of Christ which was crucified was truly and really in the consecrated host, and Huss, who inherited the Wycliffian tradition, answered before the Council of Constance, “Verily, I do think that the body of Christ is really and totally in the sacrament of the altar, which was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered, died, and rose again, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty.” That which has rent society in twain and has caused blood to flow like water, has never been abstract opinions, but that economic competition either between states or classes, that lust for power and wealth, which makes a vested interest. Thus by 1382 the eucharist had come to represent to the privileged classes power and wealth, and they would have repudiated Wycliffe even had they felt strong enough to support him. But they were threatened by an adversary equally formidable with heresy in the person of the villeins whom the constantly increasing momentum of the time had raised into a position in which they undertook to compete for the ownership of the land which they still tilled as technical serfs.

1 Nowhere, perhaps, does Wycliffe express himself more strongly on this subject than in a little tract called The Wicket, written in English, which he issued for popular consumption about this time.


Now the courts may say what they will in support of the vested interests, for to support vested interests is what lawyers are paid for and what courts are made for. Only, unhappily, in the process of argument courts and lawyers have caused blood to flow copiously, for in spite of all that can be said to the contrary, men have practically proved that they do own all the property they can defend, all the courts in Christendom notwithstanding, and this is an issue of physical force and not at all of words or of parchments. And so it proved to be in England in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, alike in Church and State. It was a matter of rather slow development. After the conquest villeins could neither in fact nor theory acquire or hold property as against their lord, and the class of landlords stretched upwards from the owner of a knight’s fee to the king on his throne, who was the chief landlord of all, but by so narrow a margin that he often had enough to do to maintain some vestige of sovereignty. So, to help himself, it came to pass that the king intrigued with the serfs against their restive masters, and the abler the king, the more he intrigued, like Henry I, until the villeins gained very substantial advantages. Thus it was that toward 1215, or pretty nearly contemporaneously with the epoch when men like Grosseteste began to show restlessness under the extortionate corruption of the Church, the villein was discovered to be able to defend his claim to some portion of the increment in the value of the land which he tilled and which was due to his labor: and this title the manorial courts recognized, because they could not help it, as a sort of tenant right, calling it a customary tenancy by base service. A century later these services in kind had been pretty frequently commuted into a fixed rent paid in money, and the serf had become a freeman, and a rather formidable freeman, too. For it was largely from among these technical serfs that Edward III recruited the infantry who formed his line at Crécy in 1346, and the archers of Crécy were not exactly the sort of men who take kindly to eviction, to say nothing of slavery. As no one meddled much with the villeins before 1349, all went well until after Crécy, but in 1348 the Black Death ravaged England, and so many laborers died that the cost of farming property by hired hands exceeded the value of the rent which the villeins paid. Then the landlords, under the usual reactionary and dangerous legal advice, tried coercion. Their first experiment was the famous Statute of Laborers, which fixed wages at the rates which prevailed in 1347, but as this statute accomplished nothing the landlords repudiated their contracts, and undertook to force their villeins to render their ancient customary services. Though the lay landlords were often hard masters, the ecclesiastics, especially the monks, were harder still, and the ecclesiastics were served by lawyers of their own cloth, whose sharp practice became proverbial. Thus the law declined to recognize rights in property existing in fact, with the inevitable result of the peasant rising in 1381, known as Wat Tyler’s Rebellion. Popular rage perfectly logically ran highest against the monks and the lawyers. Both the Archbishop of Canterbury, Simon de Sudbury, the Lord Chancellor, and the Chief Justice were killed, and the insurgents wished to kill, as Capgrave has related, “all the men that had learned ony law.” Finally the rebellion was suppressed, chiefly by the duplicity of Richard II. Richard promised the people, by written charters, a permanent tenure as freemen at reasonable rents, and so induced them to go home with his charters in their hands; but they were no sooner gone than vengeance began. Though Richard had been at the peasants’ mercy, who might have killed him had they wished, punitive expeditions were sent in various directions. One was led by Richard himself, who travelled with Tresilian, the new Chief Justice, the man who afterward was himself hanged at Tyburn. Tresilian worked so well that he is said to have strung up a dozen villeins to a single beam in Chelmsford because he had no time to have them executed regularly. Stubbs has estimated that seven thousand victims hardly satisfied the landlords’ sense of outraged justice. What concerns us, chiefly, is that this repression, however savage, failed altogether to bring tranquillity. After 1381 a full century of social chaos supervened, merging at times into actual civil war, until, in 1485, Henry Tudor came in after his victory at Bosworth, pledged to destroy the whole reactionary class which incarnated feudalism. For the feudal soldier was neither flexible nor astute, and allowed himself to be caught between the upper and the nether millstone. While industrial and commercial capital had been increasing in the towns, capitalistic methods of farming had invaded the country, and, as police improved, private and predatory warfare, as a business, could no longer be made to pay. The importance of a feudal noble lay in the body of retainers who followed his banner, and therefore the feudal tendency always was to overcharge the estate with military expenditure. Hence, to protect themselves from creditors, the landlords passed the Statute De Donis which made entails inalienable. Toward the end of the Wars of the Roses, however, the pressure for money, which could only be raised by pledging their land, became too strong for the feudal aristocracy. Edward IV, who was a very able man, perceived, pretty early in his reign, that his class could not maintain themselves unless their land were put upon a commercial basis. Therefore he encouraged the judges, in the collusive litigation known to us as Taltarum’s Case, decided in 1472, to set aside the Statute De Donis, by the fiction of the Common Recovery. The concession, even so, came too late. The combination against them had grown too strong for the soldiers to resist. Other classes evolved by competition wanted their property, and these made Henry Tudor king of England to seize it for them.

Henry’s work was simple enough. After Bosworth, with a competent police force at hand to execute process, he had only to organize a political court, and to ruin by confiscatory fines all the families strong enough, or rash enough, to maintain garrisoned houses. So Henry remodelled the Star Chamber, in I486, to deal with the martial gentry, and before long a new type of intelligence possessed the kingdom.

The feudal soldiers being disposed of, it remained to evict the monks, who were thus left without their natural defenders. No matter of faith was involved. Henry VIII boasted that in doctrine he was as orthodox as the pope. There was, however, an enormous monastic landed property to be redistributed This was confiscated, and appropriated, not to public purposes, but, as usually happens in revolutions, to the use of the astutest of the revolutionists. Among these, John Russell, afterward Earl of Bedford, stood preeminent. Russell had no particular pedigree or genius, save the acquisitive genius, but he made himself useful to Henry in such judicial murders as that of Richard Whiting, Abbot of Glastonbury. He received in payment, among much else, Woburn Abbey, which has since remained the Bedford country seat, and Covent Garden or Convent Garden, one of the most valuable parcels of real estate in London. Covent Garden the present duke recently sold, anticipating, perhaps, some such legislation as ruined the monks and made his ancestor’s fortune. As for the monks whom Henry evicted, they wandered forth from their homes beggars, and Henry hanged all of them whom he could catch as vagrants. How many perished as counterpoise for the peasant massacres and Lollard burnings of the foregoing two centuries can never be known, nor to us is it material. What is essential to mark, from the legal standpoint, is that while this long and bloody revolution, of one hundred and fifty years, displaced a favored class and confiscated its property, it raised up in their stead another class of land monopolists, rather more greedy and certainly quite as cruel as those whom they superseded. Also, in spite of all opposition, labor did make good its claim to participate more or less fully in the ownership of the property it cultivated, for while the holding of the ancient villein grew to be well recognized in the royal courts as a copyhold estate, villeinage itself disappeared.

Yet, unless I profoundly err, in the revolution of the sixteenth century, the law somewhat conspicuously failed in its function of moderating competition, for I am persuaded that competition of another kind sharpened, and shortly caused a second civil war bloodier than the Wars of the Roses.

Fifteen years before the convents were seized, Sir Thomas More wrote Utopia, in whose opening chapter More has given an account of a dinner at Cardinal Morton’s, who, by the way, presided in the Star Chamber. At this dinner one of the cardinal’s guests reflected on the thievish propensities of Englishmen, who were to be found throughout the country hanged as felons, sometimes twenty together on a single gallows. More protested that this was not the fault of the poor who were hanged, but of rich land monopolists, who pastured sheep and left no fields for tillage. According to More, these capitalists plucked down houses and even towns, leaving nothing but the church for a sheep-house, so that “by covin and fraud, or by violent oppression, … or by wrongs and injuries,” the husbandmen “be thrust out of their own,” and, “must needs depart away, poor, wretched souls, men, women, husbands, wives, fatherless children, widows.” The dissolution of the convents accelerated the process, and more and more of the weaker yeomanry were ruined and evicted. It is demonstrated that the pauperization of the feebler rural population went on apace by the passage of poor-laws under Elizabeth, which, in the Middle Ages, had not been needed and, therefore, were unknown. This movement, described by More, was the beginning of the system of enclosing common lands which afterward wrought havoc among the English yeomen, and which, I suppose, contributed more than any other single cause to the Great Rebellion of the seventeenth century. In the mediaeval village the owners of small farms enjoyed certain rights in the common land of the community, affording them pasturage for their cattle and the like, rights without which small farming could not be made profitable. These commons the land monopolists appropriated, sometimes giving some shadow of compensation, sometimes by undisguised force, but on the whole compensation amounted to so little that the enclosure of the commons must rank as confiscation. Also this seizure of property would doubtless have caused a convulsion as lasting as that which followed the insurrection of 1381, or as did actually occur in Ireland, had it not been for an unparalleled contemporaneous territorial and industrial expansion. Thorold Rogers always insisted that between 1563, the year of the passage of the Statute of Apprentices,1 and 1824, a regular conspiracy existed between the lawyers “and the parties interested in its success … to cheat the English workman of his wages, … and to degrade him to irremediable poverty.” Certainly the land monopolists resorted to strong measures to accumulate land, for something like six hundred and fifty Enclosure Acts were passed between 1760, the opening of the Industrial Revolution, and 1774, the outbreak of the American War. But without insisting on Rogers’s view, it is not denied that the weakest of the small yeomen sank into utter misery, becoming paupers or worse. On the other hand, of those stronger some emigrated to America, others, who were among the ablest and the boldest, sought fortune as adventurers over the whole earth, and, like the grandfather of Chatham, brought home from India as smugglers or even as pirates, diamonds to be sold to kings for their crowns, or, like Clive, became the greatest generals and administrators of the nation. Probably, however, by far the majority of those who were of average capacity found compensation for the confiscated commons in domestic industry, owning their houses with lots of land and the tools of their trade. Defoe has left a charming description of the region about Halifax in Yorkshire, toward the year 1730, where he found the whole population busy, prosperous, healthy, and, in the main, self-sufficing. He did not see a beggar or an idle person in the whole country. So, favored by circumstances, the landed oligarchy met with no effective resistance after the death of Cromwell, and achieved what amounted to being autocratic power in 1688. Their great triumph was the conversion of the House of Commons into their own personal property, about the beginning of the eighteenth century, with all the guaranties of law. In the Middle Ages the chief towns of England had been summoned by the king to send burgesses to Westminster to grant him money, but as time elapsed the Commons acquired influence and, in 1642, became dominant. Then, after the Restoration, the landlords conceived the idea of appropriating the right of representation, as they had appropriated and were appropriating the common lands. Lord John Russell one day observed in the House of Commons that the burgesses were originally chosen from among the inhabitants of the towns they represented, but that, in the reign of Anne, the landlords, to depress the shipping interest, opened the borough representation to all qualified persons without regard to domicile. Lord John was mistaken in his date, for the change occurred earlier, but he described correctly enough the persistent animus of the landlords. An important part of their policy turned on the so-called Determination Acts of 1696 and 1729, which defined the franchises and which had the effect of confirming the titles of patrons to borough property, thus making a seat in the House of Commons an incorporeal hereditament fully recognized by law. On this point so high an authority as Lord Eldon was emphatic. By the time of the American War the oligarchy had become so narrow that one hundred and fifty-four peers and commoners returned three hundred and seven members, or much more than a majority of the House as then organized.3 With the privileged class reduced to these contemptible numbers a catastrophe necessarily followed. Almost impregnable as the position of the oligarchy appeared, it yet had its vulnerable point. As Burke told the Duke of Portland, a duke’s power did not come from his title, but from his wealth, and the landlords’ wealth rested on their ability to draw a double rent from their estates, one rent for themselves, and another to provide for the farmer to whom they let their acres. Evidently British land could not bear this burden if brought in competition with other equally good land that paid only a single rent, and from a pretty early period the landlords appear to have been alive to this fact. Nevertheless, ocean freights afforded a fair protection, and as long as the industrial population remained tolerably self-supporting, England rather tended to export than to import grain. But toward 1760 advances in applied science profoundly modified the equilibrium of English society. The new inventions, stimulated by steam, could only be utilized by costly machinery installed in large factories, which none but considerable capitalists could build, but once in operation the product of these factories undersold domestic labor, and ruined and evicted the population of whole regions like Halifax. These unfortunate laborers were thrust in abject destitution into filthy and dark alleys in cities, where they herded in masses, in misery and crime. In consequence grain rose in value, so much so that in 1766 prayers were offered touching its price. Thenceforward England imported largely from America, and in 1773 Parliament was constrained to reduce the duty on wheat to a point lower than the gentry conceded again, until the total repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846. The situation was well understood in London. Burke, Governor Pownall, and others explained it in Parliament, while Chatham implored the landlords not to alienate America, which they could not, he told them, conquer, but which gave them a necessary market, — a market as he aptly said, both of supply and demand. And Chatham was right, for America not only supplied the grain to feed English labor, but bought from England at least one third of all her surplus manufactures.

This brings us to the eighteenth century, which directly concerns us, because the religious superstition, which had previously caused men to seek in a conscious supreme energy the effective motor in human affairs, had waned, and the problem presented was reduced to the operation of that acceleration of movement by the progress of applied science which always has been, and always must be, the prime cause of the quickening of economic competition either as between communities or as between individuals. And this is the capital phenomenon of civilization. For it is now generally admitted that war is nothing but economic competition in its acutest form. When competition reaches a certain intensity it kindles into war or revolution, precisely as when iron is raised to a certain heat it kindles into flame. And, for the purposes of illustration, possibly the best method of showing how competition was quickened, and how it affected adjacent communities during the eighteenth century, is to take navigation, not only because navigation was much improved during the first three quarters of that period, but because both England and France competed for control in America by means of ships. It suffices to mention, very succinctly, a few of the more salient advances which were then made.

Toward 1761 John Harrison produced the chronometer, by which longitude could be determined at sea, making the ship independent in all parts of the world. At the same time more ingenious rigging increased her power of working to windward. With such advantages Captain Cook became a mighty discoverer both in the southern and western oceans, charted New Zealand and much else, and more important than all, in 1759 he surveyed the Saint Lawrence and piloted ships up the river, of which he had established the channel. Speaking of Cook naturally leads to the solution of the problem of the transportation of men, sailors, soldiers, and emigrants, on long voyages, thereby making population fluid. Cook, in his famous report, read before the Royal Society in March, 1776, after his second-voyage, established forever the hygienic principles by observing which a ship’s company may safely be kept at sea for any length of time. Previously there had always been a very high mortality from scurvy and kindred diseases, which had, of course, operated as a very serious check to human movement. On land the same class of phenomena were even more marked. In England the Industrial Revolution is usually held to date from 1760, and, by common consent, the Industrial Revolution is attributed altogether to applied science, or, in other words, to mechanical inventions. In 1760 the flying-shuttle appeared, and coal began to replace wood for smelting. In 1764 Hargreaves invented the spinning-jenny; in 1779 Crompton contrived the mule; and in 1768 Watt brought the steam-engine to maturity. In 1761 the first boat-load of coals sailed over the Barton viaduct, which James Brindley built for the Duke of Bridgewater’s canal, to connect Worsley with Manchester, thus laying the foundation of British inland navigation, which before the end of the century had covered England; while John Metcalf, the blind roadbuilder, began his lifework in 1765. He was destined to improve English highways, which up to that time had been mostly impossible for wheeled traffic. In France the same advance went on. Arthur Young described the impression made on him in 1789 by the magnificence of the French roads which had been built since the administration of Colbert, as well as by the canal which connected the Mediterranean with the Atlantic.

In the midst of this activity Washington grew up. Washington was a born soldier, engineer, and surveyor with the topographical instinct peculiar to that temperament. As early as 1748 he was chosen by Lord Fairfax, who recognized his ability, though only sixteen years old, to survey his vast estate west of the Blue Ridge, which was then a wilderness. He spent three years in this work and did it well. In 1753 Governor Dinwiddie sent Washington on a mission to the French commander on the Ohio, to warn him to cease trespassing on English territory, a mission which Washington fulfilled, under considerable hardship and some peril, with eminent success. Thus early, for he was then only twenty-two, Washington gained that thorough understanding of the North American river system which enabled him, many years afterward, to construct the Republic of the United States upon the lines of least resistant intercommunication. And Washington’s conception of the problem and his solution thereof were, in substance, this:

The American continent, west of the mountains and south of the Great Lakes, is traversed in all directions by the Mississippi and its tributaries, but we may confine our attention to two systems of watercourses, the one to the west, forming by the Wisconsin and the main arm of the Mississippi, a thoroughfare from Lake Michigan to the Gulf; and the other by French Creek and the Allegheny, broken only by one easy portage, affording a perfect means of access to the Ohio, a river which has always operated as the line of cleavage between our northern and southern States. The French starting from Quebec floated from Lake Erie down the Allegheny to Pittsburgh, the English ascended the Potomac to Cumberland, and thence, following the most practicable watercourses, advanced on the French position at the junction of the Allegheny and the Monongahela. There Washington met and fought them in 1754, and ever after Washington maintained that the only method by which a stable union among the colonies could be secured was by a main trunk system of transportation along the line of the Ohio and the Potomac. This was to be his canal which should bind north and south, east and west, together by a common interest, and which should carry the produce of the west, north, and south, to the Atlantic coast, where it should be discharged at the head of deep-water navigation, and which should thus stimulate industry adjacent to the spot he chose for the Federal City, or, in our language, for the City of Washington. Thus the capital of the United States was to become the capital of a true nation, not as a political compromise, but because it lay at the central point of a community made cohesive by a social circulation which should build it up, in his own words, into a capital, or national heart, if not “as large as London, yet of a magnitude inferior to few others in Europe.” Maryland and Virginia abounded, as Washington well knew; in coal and iron. His canal passing through this region would stimulate industry, and these States would thus become the focus of exchanges. Manufacturing is incompatible with slavery, hence slavery would gradually and peacefully disappear, and the extremities of the Union would be drawn together at what he described as “the great emporium of the United States.” To crown all, a national university was to make this emporium powerful in collective thought.

Doubtless Grenville and Townshend had not considered the American problem as maturely as had Washington, but nevertheless, most well-informed persons now agree that Englishmen in 1763 were quite alive to the advantages which would accrue to Great Britain, by holding in absolute control a rich but incoherent body of colonies whose administrative centre lay in England, and were as anxious that London should serve as the heart of America as Washington was that America should have its heart on the Potomac.

Accordingly, England attempted to isolate Massachusetts and pressed an attack on her with energy, before the whole thirteen colonies should be able to draw to a unity. On the other hand, Washington, and most sensible Americans, resisted this attack as resolutely as might be under such disadvantages, not wishing for independence, but hoping for some compromise like that which Great Britain has since effected with her remaining colonies. The situation, however, admitted of no peaceful adjustment, chiefly because the imbecility of American administration induced by her incapacity for collective thought, was so manifest, that Englishmen could not believe that such a society could wage a successful war. Nor could America have done so alone. She owed her ultimate victory altogether to Washington and France.

It would occupy too much space for me to undertake to analyze, even superficially, the process by which, after the Seven Years’ War, competition between America and England reached an intensity which kindled the American Revolution, but, shortly stated, the economic tension arose thus: As England was then organized, the estates of the English landlords had to pay two rents, one to the landlord himself, the other to the farmer who leased his land, and this it could not do were it brought into direct competition with equally good land which paid but one profit, and which was not burdened by an excessive cost of transportation in reaching its market. As freights between England and America fell because of improved shipping and the greater safety of the seas, England had to have protection for her food and she proposed to get it thus: If competing Continental exports could be excluded from America, and, at the same time, Americans could be prevented from manufacturing for themselves, the colonists might be constrained to take what they needed from England, at prices which would enable labor to buy food at a rate which would yield the double profit, and thus America could be made to pay the cost of supporting the landlords. As Cobden afterward observed, the fortunes of England have turned on American competition. A part of these fortunes were represented by the Parliamentary boroughs which the landlords owned and which were confiscated by the Reform Bill, and these boroughs were held by Lord Eldon to be incorporeal hereditaments: as truly a part of the private property of the gentry who owned them as church advowsons, or the like. And the gentry held to their law-making power which gave them such a privilege with a tenacity which precipitated two wars before they yielded; but this was naught compared to the social convulsion which rent France, when a population which had been for centuries restrained from free domestic movement, burst its bonds and insisted on levelling the barriers which had immobilized it.

The story of the French Revolution is too familiar to need recapitulation here: indeed, I have already dealt with it in my Social Revolutions; but the effects of that convulsion are only now beginning to appear, and these effects, without the shadow of a doubt, have been in their ultimate development the occasion of that great war whose conclusion we still await.

France, in 1792, having passed into a revolution which threatened the vested interests of Prussia, was attacked by Prussia, who was defeated at Valmy. Presently, France retaliated, under Napoleon, invaded Prussia, crushed her army at Jena, in 1807, dismembered the kingdom and imposed on her many hardships. To obtain their freedom the Prussians found it needful to reorganize their social system from top to bottom, for this social system had descended from Frederic William, the Great Elector of Brandenburg (1640-1688), and from Frederic the Great (1740-1786), and was effete and incapable of meeting the French onset, which amounted, in substance, to a quickened competition. Accordingly, the new Prussian constitution, conceived by Stein, put the community upon a relatively democratic and highly developed educational basis. By the Emancipating Edict of 1807, the peasantry came into possession of their land, while, chiefly through the impulsion of Scharn-horst, who was the first chief of staff of the modern army, the country adopted universal military service, which proved to be popular throughout all ranks. Previous to Scharnhorst, under Frederic the Great, the qualification of an officer had been birth. Scharnhorst defined it as education, gallantry, and intelligence. Similarly, Gneisenau’s conception of a possible Prussian supremacy lay in its army, its science, and its administration. But the civil service was intended to incarnate science, and was the product of the modernized university, exemplified in the University of Berlin organized by William von Humboldt. Herein lay the initial advantage which Germany gained over England, an advantage which she long maintained. And the advantage lay in this: Germany conceived a system of technical education matured and put in operation by the State. Hence, so far as in human affairs such things are possible, the intelligence of Germans was liberated from the incubus of vested interests, who always seek to use education to advance themselves. It was so in England. The English entrusted education to the Church, and the Church was, by the necessity of its being, reactionary and hostile to science, whereas the army, in the main, was treated in England as a social function, and the officers, speaking generally, were not technically specially educated at all. Hence, in foreign countries, but especially in Germany which was destined to be ultimately England’s great competitor, England laid herself open to rather more than a suspicion of weakness, and indeed, when it came to a test, England found herself standing, for several years of war, at a considerable disadvantage because of the lack of education in those departments wherein Germany had, by the attack of France, been forced to make herself proficient. This any one may see for himself by reading the addresses of Fichte to the German nation, delivered in 1807 and 1808, when Berlin was still occupied by the French. In fine, it was with Prussia a question of competition, brought to its ultimate tension by war. Prussia had no alternative as a conquered land but to radically accelerate her momentum, or perish. And so, at the present day, it may not improbably be with us. Competition must grow intenser.

With England the situation in 1800 was very different. It was less strenuous. Nothing is more notable in England than to observe how, after the Industrial Revolution began, there was practically no means by which a poor man could get an education, save by educating himself. For instance, in February 1815, four months before Waterloo, George Stephenson took out a patent for the locomotive engine which was to revolutionize the world. But George Stephenson was a common laborer in the mines, who had no state instruction available, nor had he even any private institution at hand in which the workmen whom he employed in practical construction could be taught. He and his son Robert, had to organize instruction for themselves and their employees independently. So it was even with a man like Faraday, who began life as an errand boy, and later on who actually went abroad as a sort of valet to Sir Humphry Davy. Davy himself was a self-made man. In short, England, as a community, did little or nothing by education for those who had no means, and but little to c raw any one toward science. It was at this precise moment that Germany was cast into the furnace of modern competition with England, who had, because of a series of causes, chiefly geographical, topographical, and mineralogical, about a century the start of her. Against this advantage Germany had to rely exclusively upon civil and military education. At first this competition by Germany took a military complexion, and very rapidly wrought the complete consolidation of Germany by the Austrian and the French wars. But this phase presently passed, and after the French campaign of 1870 the purely economic aspect of the situation developed more strenuously still, so much so that intelligent observers, among whom Lord Roberts was conspicuous, perceived quite early in the present century that the heat generated in the conflict must, probably, soon engender war. Nor could it either theoretically or practically have been otherwise, for the relations between the two countries had reached a point where they generated a friction which caused incandescence automatically. And, moreover, the inflammable material fit for combustion was, especially in Germany, present in quantity. From the time of Fichte and Scharnhorst downward to the end of the century, the whole nation had learned, as a sort of gospel, that the German education produced a most superior engine of economic competition, whereas the slack education and frivolous amusements of English civil and military life alike, had gradually created a society apt to crumble. And it is only needful for any person who has the curiosity, to glance at the light literature of the Victorian age, which deals with the army, to see how dominant a part such an amusement as hunting played in the life of the younger officers, especially in the fashionable regiments, to be impressed with the soundness of much of this German criticism.

Assuming, then, for the sake of argument, that these historical premises are sound, I proceed to consider how they bear on our prospective civilization.

This is eminently a scientific age, and yet the scientific mind, as it is now produced among us, is not without tendencies calculated to cause uneasiness to those a little conversant with history or philosophy. For whereas no one in these days would dream of utilizing prayer, as did Moses or Saint Hugh, as a mechanical energy, nevertheless the search for a universal prime motor goes on unabated, and yet it accomplishes nothing to the purpose. On the contrary, the effect is one which could neither be expected nor desired. Instead of being an aid to social coordination, it stimulates disintegration to a high degree as the war has shown. It has stimulated disintegration in two ways. First, it has enormously quickened physical movement, which has already been discussed, and secondly, it has stimulated the rapidity with which thought is diffused. The average human being can only absorb and assimilate safely new forms of thought when given enough time for digestion, as if he were assimilating food. If he be plied with new thought too rapidly he fails to digest. He has a surfeit, serious in proportion to its enormity. That is to say, his power of drawing correct conclusions from the premises submitted to him fails, and we have all sorts of crude experiments in sociology attempted, which end in that form of chaos which we call a violent revolution. The ordinary result is infinite waste fomented by fallacious hopes; in a word, financial disaster, supplemented usually by loss of life. The experience is an old one, and the result is almost invariable.

For example, during the Middle Ages, men like Saint Hugh and Peter the Venerable, and, most of all, Saint Francis, possessed by dreams of attaining to perfection, by leading lives of inimitable purity, self-devotion, and asceticism, inspired the community about them with the conviction that they could work miracles. They thereby, as a reward, drew to the Church they served what amounted to being, considering the age they lived in, boundless wealth. But the effect of this economic phenomenon was far from what they had hoped or expected. Instead of raising the moral standard of men to a point where all the world would be improved, they so debased the hierarchy, by making money the standard of ambition within it, that, as a whole, the priesthood accepted, without any effective protest, the fires of the Council of Constance which consumed Huss, and the abominations of the Borgias at Rome. Perfectly logically, as a corollary to this orgy of crime and bestiality, the wars of the Reformation swept away many, many thousands of human beings, wasted half of Europe, and only served to demonstrate the futility of ideals.

And so it was with the Puritans, who were themselves the children of the revolt against social corruption. They fondly believed that a new era was to be ushered in by the rule of the Cromwellian saints. What the Cromwellian saints did in truth usher in, was the carnival of debauchery of Charles II, in its turn to be succeeded by the capitalistic competitive age which we have known, and which has abutted in the recent war.

Man can never hope to change his physical necessities, and therefore his moral nature must always remain the same in essence, if not in form. As Washington truly said, “The motives which predominate most in human affairs are self-love and self-interest,” and “nothing binds one country or one state to another but interest.”

If, then, it be true, that man is an automatic animal moving always along the paths of least resistance toward predetermined ends, it cannot fail to be useful to us in the present emergency to mark, as distinctly as we can, the causes which impelled Germany, at a certain point in her career, to choose the paths which led to her destruction rather than those which, at the first blush, promised as well, and which seemed to be equally as easy and alluring. And we may possibly, by this process, expose certain phenomena which may profit us, since such an examination may help us to estimate what avenues are like to prove ultimately the least resistant.

Throughout the Middle Ages North Germany, which is the region whereof Berlin is the capital, enjoyed relatively little prosperity, because Brandenburg, for example, lay beyond the zone of those main trade routes which, before the advent of railways, served as the arteries of the eastern trade. Not until after the opening of the Industrial Revolution in England, did that condition alter. Nor even then did a change come rapidly because of the inertia of the Russian people. Nevertheless, as the Russian railway system developed, Berlin one day found herself standing, as it were, at the apex of a vast triangle whose boundaries are, roughly, indicated by the position of Berlin itself, Petersburg, Warsaw, Moscow, Kiev, and the Ukraine. Beyond Berlin the stream of traffic flowed to Hamburg and thence found vent in America, as a terminus. Great Britain, more especially, demanded food, and food passed by sea from Odessa. Hence Russia served as a natural base for Germany, taking German manufactures and offering to Germany a reservoir capable of absorbing her redundant population. Thus it had long been obvious that intimate relations with Russia were of prime importance to Germany since all the world could perceive that the monied interests of Russia must more and more fall into German hands, because of the intellectual limitations of the Russians. Also pacification to the eastward always was an integral part of Bismarck’s policy. Notwithstanding which other influences conflicted with, and ultimately overbalanced, this eastern trend in Germany.

For many thousand years before written history began, the economic capital of the world, the seat for the time being of opulence and of splendor, and at once the admiration and the envy of less favored rivals, has been a certain ambulatory spot upon the earth’s surface, at a point where the lines of trade from east to west have converged. And always the marked idiosyncrasy of this spot has been its unrest. It has constantly oscillated from east to west according as the fortunes of war have prevailed, or as the march of applied science has made one or another route of transportation cheaper or more defensible.

Thus Babylon was conquered and robbed by Rome, and Rome, after a long heyday of prosperity, yielded to Constantinople, while Constantinople lost her supremacy to Venice, Genoa, and North Italy, following the sack of Constantinople by the Venetians in 1202 A.D. The Fairs of Champaign in France, and the cities of the Rhine and Antwerp were the glory of the Middle Ages, but these great markets faded when the discovery of the long sea voyage to India threw the route by the Red Sea and Cairo into eccentricity, and caused Spain and Portugal to bloom. Spain’s prosperity did not, however, last long. England used war during the sixteenth century as an economic weapon, pretty easily conquering. And since the opening of the Industrial Revolution, at least, London, with the exception of the few years when England suffered from the American revolt of 1776, has assumed steadily more the aspect of the great international centre of exchanges, until with Waterloo her supremacy remained unchallenged. It was this brilliant achievement of London, won chiefly by arms, which more than any other cause impelled Germany to try her fortunes by war rather than by the methods of peace.

Nor was the German calculation of chances unreasonable or unwarranted. For upwards of two centuries Germany had found war the most profitable of all her economic ventures; especially had she found the French war of 1870 a most lucrative speculation. And she felt unbounded confidence that she could win as easy a triumph with her army, over the French, in the twentieth as in the nineteenth century. But, could she penetrate to Paris and at the same time occupy the littoral of the Channel and Antwerp, she was persuaded that she could do to the commerce of England what England had once done to the commerce of Spain, and that Hamburg and Berlin would supplant London. And this calculation might have proved sound had it not been for her oversight in ignoring one essential factor in the problem. Ever since North America was colonized by the English, that portion of the continent which is now comprised by the Republic of the United States, had formed a part of the British economic system, even when the two fragments of that system were competing in war, as has occurred more than once. And as America has waxed great and rich these relations have grown closer, until of recent years it has become hard to determine whether the centre of gravity of this vast capitalistic mass lay to the east or to the west of the Atlantic. One fact, however, from before the outset of this war had been manifest, and that was that the currents of movement flowed with more power from America to England than from America to Germany. And this had from before the outbreak of hostilities affected the relations of the parties. Should Germany prevail in her contest with England, the result would certainly be to draw the centre of exchanges to the eastward, and thereby to throw the United States, more or less, into eccentricity; but were England to prevail the United States would tend to become the centre toward which all else would gravitate. Hence, perfectly automatically, from a time as long ago as the Spanish War, the balance, as indicated by the weight of the United States, hung unevenly as between Germany and England, Germany manifesting something approaching to repulsion toward the attraction of the United States while Great Britain manifested favor. And from subsequent evidence, this phenomenon would seem to have been thus early developed, because the economic centre of gravity of our modern civilization had already traversed the Atlantic, and by so doing had decided the fortunes of Germany in advance, in the greater struggle about to come. Consider attentively what has happened. In April, 1917, when the United States entered the conflict, Germany, though it had suffered severely in loss of men, was by no means exhausted. On the contrary, many months subsequently she began her final offensive, which she pushed so vigorously that she penetrated to within some sixty miles of Paris. But there, at Château Thierry, on the Marne, she first felt the weight of the economic shift. She suddenly encountered a division of American troops advancing to oppose her. Otherwise the road to Paris lay apparently open. The American troops were raw levies whom the Germans pretended to despise. And yet, almost without making a serious effort at prolonged attack, the Germans began their retreat, which only ended with their collapse and the fall of the empire.

A similar phenomenon occurred once before in German history, and it is not an uncommon incident in human experience when nature has already made, or is on the brink of making, a change in the seat of the economic centre of the world. In the same way, when Constantine won the battle of the Milvian Bridge, with his men fighting under the standard of the Labarum, it was subsequently found that the economic capital of civilization had silently migrated from the Tiber to the Bosphorus, where Constantine seated himself at Constantinople, which was destined to be the new capital of the world for about eight hundred years. So in 1792, when the Prussians and the French refugees together invaded France, they never doubted for an instant that they should easily disperse the mob, as they were pleased to call it, of Kellermann’s “vagabonds, cobblers, and tailors.” Nevertheless the Germans recoiled on the slope of Valmy from before the republican army, almost without striking a blow, nor could they be brought again to the attack, although the French royalists implored to be allowed to storm the hill alone, provided they could be assured of support. Then the retreat of the Duke of Brunswick began, and this retreat was the prelude to the Napoleonic empire, to Austerlitz, to Jena, to the dismemberment and to the reorganization of Prussia and to the evolution of modern Germany: in short, to the conversion of the remnants of mediaeval civilization into the capitalistic, industrial, competitive society which we have known. And all this because of the accelerated movement I caused by science.

If it be, indeed, a fact that the victory of Château Thierry and the subsequent retreat of the German army together with the collapse of the German Empire indicate, as there is abundant reason to suppose that they may, a shift in the world’s social equilibrium, equivalent to the shift in Europe presaged by Valmy, or to that which substituted Constantinople for Rome and which was marked by the Milvian Bridge, it follows that we must prepare ourselves for changes possibly greater than our world has seen since it marched to Jerusalem under Godfrey de Bouillon. And the tendency of those changes is not so very difficult, perhaps, roughly to estimate, always premising that they are hardly compatible with undue optimism. Supposing, for example, we consider, in certain of their simpler aspects, some of the relations of Great Britain toward ourselves, since Great Britain is not only our most important friend, assuming that she remain a friend, but our most formidable competitor, should competition strain our friendship. Also Great Britain has the social system nearest akin to our own, and most likely to be influenced by the same so-called democratic tendencies. For upwards of a hundred years Great Britain has been, and she still is, absolutely dependent on her maritime supremacy for life. It was on that issue she fought the Napoleonic wars, and when she prevailed at Trafalgar and Waterloo she assumed economic supremacy, but only on the condition that she should always be ready and willing to defend it, for it is only on that condition that economic supremacy can be maintained. War is the most potent engine of economic competition. Constantinople and Antwerp survived and flourished on the same identical conditions long before the day of London. She must keep her avenues of communication with all the world open, and guard them against possible attack. So long as America competed actively with England on the sea, even for her own trade, her relations with Great Britain were troubled. The irritation of the colonies with the restrictions which England put upon their commerce materially contributed to foment the revolution, as abundantly appears in the famous case of John Hancock’s sloop Liberty, which was seized for smuggling. So in the War of 1812, England could not endure the United States as a competitor in her contest with France. She must be an ally, or, in other words, she must function as a component part of the British economic system, or she must be crushed. The crisis came with the attack of the Leopard on the Chesapeake in 1807, after which the possibility of maintaining peace, under such a pressure, appeared, in its true light, as a phantasm. After the war, with more or less constant friction, the same conditions continued until the outbreak of the Rebellion, and then Great Britain manifested her true animus as a competitor. She waged an unacknowledged campaign against the commerce of the United States, building, equipping, arming, manning, and succoring a navy for the South, which operated none the less effectively because its action was officially repudiated. And in this secret warfare England prevailed, since when the legislation of the United States has made American competition with England on the sea impossible. Wherefore we have had peace with England. We have supplied Great Britain with food and raw materials, abandoning to England the carrying trade and an undisputed naval supremacy. Consequently Great Britain feels secure and responds to the full force of that economic attraction which makes America naturally, a component part of the British economic system. But let American pretensions once again revive to the point of causing her to attempt seriously to develop her sea power as of yore, and the same friction would also revive which could hardly, were it pushed to its legitimate end, eventuate otherwise than in the ultimate form of all economic competition.

If such a supposition seems now to be fanciful, it is only necessary to reflect a moment on the rapidity with which national relations vary under competition, to be assured that it is real. As Washington said, the only force which binds one nation to another is interest. The rise of Germany, which first created jealousy in England, began with the attack on Denmark in 1864. Then Russia was the power which the British most feared and with whom they were on the worst of terms. About that period nothing would have seemed more improbable than that these relations would be reversed, and that Russia and England would jointly, within a generation, wage fierce war on Germany. We are very close to England now, but we may be certain that, were we to press, as Germany pressed, on British maritime and industrial supremacy, we should be hated too. It is vain to disguise the fact that British fortunes in the past have hinged on American competition, and that the wisest and most sagacious Englishmen have been those who have been most alive to the fact. Richard Cobden, for example, was one of the most liberal as he was one of the most eminent of British economists and statesmen of the middle of the nineteenth century. He was a democrat by birth and education, and a Quaker by religion. In 1835, just before he entered public life, Cobden visited the United States and thus recorded his impressions on his return:

“America is once more the theatre upon which nations are contending for mastery; it is not, however, a struggle for conquest, in which the victor will acquire territorial dominion — the fight is for commercial supremacy, and will be won by the cheapest. … It is from the silent and peaceful rivalry of American commerce, the growth of its manufactures, its rapid progress in internal improvements, … it is from these, and not from the barbarous policy or the impoverishing armaments of Russia, that the grandeur of our commercial and national prosperity is endangered.” - John Morley, The Life of Richard Cobden, 107, 108.

It is not, however, any part of my contention that nature should push her love of competition so far as necessarily to involve us in war with Great Britain, at least at present, for nature has various and most unlooked-for ways of arriving at her ends, since men never can determine, certainly in advance, what avenue will, to them, prove the least resistant. They very often make an error, as did the Germans, which they can only correct by enduring disaster, defeat, and infinite suffering. Nature might very well, for example, prefer that consolidation should advance yet another step before a reaction toward chaos should begin.

This last war has, apparently, been won by a fusion of two economic systems which together hold and administer a preponderating mass of fluid capital, and which have partially pooled their resources to prevail. They appear almost as would a gigantic lizard which, having been severed in an ancient conflict, was now making a violent but only half-conscious effort to cause the head and body to unite with the tail, so that the two might function once more as a single organism, governed by a single will. Under our present form of capitalistic life there would seem to be no reason why this fluid capital should not fuse and by its energy furnish the motor which should govern the world. Rome, for centuries, was governed by an emperor, who represented the landed class of Italy, under the forms of a republic. It is not by any means necessary that a plutocratic mass should have a recognized political head. And America and England, like two enormous banking houses, might in effect fuse and yet go on as separate institutions with nominally separate boards of directors.

But it is inconceivable that even such an expedient as this, however successful at the outset, should permanently solve the problem, which resolves itself once more into individual competition. It is not imaginable that such an enormous plutocratic society as I have supposed could conduct its complex affairs upon the basis of the average intelligence. As in Rome, a civil service would inevitably be organized which would contain a carefully selected body of ability. We have seen such a process, in its initial stages, in the recent war. And such a civil service, however selected and however trained, would, to succeed, have to be composed of men who were the ablest in their calling, the best educated, and the fittest: in a word, the representatives of what we call “the big business” of the country. Such as they might handle the railroads, the telegraph lines, the food supply, the question of competitive shipping, and finally prices, as we have seen it done, but only on condition that they belonged to the fortunate class by merit.

But supposing, in the face of such a government, the unfortunate class should protest, as they already do protest in Russia, in Germany, and even in England and here at home, that a legal system which sanctions such a civilization is iniquitous. Here, the discontented say, you insist on a certain form of competition being carried to its limit. That is, you demand intellectual and peaceful competition for which I am unfit both by education, training, and mental ability. I am therefore excluded from those walks in life which make a man a freeman. I become a slave to capital. I must work, or fight, or starve according to another man’s convenience, caprice, or, in fine, according to his will. I could be no worse off under any despot. To such a system I will not submit. But I can at least fight. Put me on a competitive equality or I will blow your civilization to atoms. To such an argument there is no logical answer possible except the answer which all extreme socialists have always advanced. The fortunate man should be taxed for all he earns above the average wage, and the State should confiscate his-accumulations at death. Then, with a system of government education, obligatory on all, children would start equal from birth.

Here we come against the hereditary instinct, the creator and the preserver of the family: the instinct which has made law and order possible, so far as our ancestors or we have known order, as far back as the Ice Age. If the coming world must strive with this question, or abandon the “democratic ideal,” the future promises to be stormy.

But even assuming that this problem of individual competition be overcome, we are as far as ever from creating a system of moral law which shall avail us, for we at once come in conflict with the principle of abstract justice which demands that free men shall be permitted to colonize or move where they will. But supposing England and America to amalgamate; they now hold or assume to control all or nearly all the vacant regions of the earth which are suited to the white man’s habitation. And the white man cannot live and farm his land in competition with the Asiatic; that was conclusively proved in the days of Rome.

But it is not imaginable that Asiatics will submit to this discrimination in silence. Nothing can probably constrain them to resignation but force, and to apply force is to revert to the old argument of the savage or the despot, who admits that he knows no law save that of the stronger, which is the system, however much we have disguised it and, in short, lied about it, under which we have lived and under which our ancestors have lived ever since the family was organized, and under which it is probable that we shall continue to live as long as any remnant of civilization shall survive.

Nevertheless, it seems to be far from improbable that the system of industrial, capitalistic civilization, which came in, in substance, with the “free thought” of the Reformation, is nearing an end. Very probably it may have attained to its ultimate stages and may dissolve presently in the chaos which, since the Reformation, has been visibly impending. Democracy in America has conspicuously and decisively failed, in the collective administration of the common public property. Granting thus much, it becomes simply a question of relative inefficiency, or degradation of type, culminating in the exhaustion of resources by waste; unless the democratic man can supernaturally raise himself to some level more nearly approaching perfection than that on which he stands. For it has become self-evident that the democrat cannot change himself from a competitive to a non-competitive animal by talking about it, or by pretending to be already or to be about to become other than he is,— the victim of infinite conflicting forces.

BROOKS ADAMS. QUINCY, July 20, 1919.